Big Surprise: Cars Have Gotten More Expensive :
Remember the good old days when you could buy a new car for just a thousand bucks?
Neither do I.
There was a time when the cost of a new car was measured in hundreds — not thousands — of dollars. A 1915 Chevy would run you $650. Today? Thirty times that.
Economists always point out inflation: The natural devaluation of currency. In other words: A dollar today is worth less than a doller from yesterday. But are prices for today’s cars really on par with their old ancestors?
See for yourself. These are all vintage models of well-known automobiles; next to each is its US base price as adjusted for 2013 inflation:
- 1952 Volkswagen Beetle - $12,000
- 1953 Chevrolet Corvette - $28,000
- 1955 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class - $65,000
- 1962 Dodge Dart - $17,000
- 1962 Ferrari GTO - $131,000
- 1964 Porsche 911 - $49,000
- 1974 Honda Civic - $10,000
The Chevrolet Corvette has nearly doubled in price over the course of sixty years. A 2013 model starts at $50,000. Likewise, the Porsche 911 has nearly doubled in cost over forty-nine years: A 2013 Carrera starts at $84,000. Only the cheapest Porsche, a standard Boxster, retails for under $50K. The Mercedes-Benz SL-Class retailed in the Fifties for what would now be $65K, but today’s SL costs just over $100,000.
A few models have evolved into different types of vehicle. The classic Beetle was an economy car; the modern Beetle is a sporty one. The cheapest VW you can buy in the States would be the Jetta, which starts at $15,000—three grand more than original Bug.
Similarly, the 1970s Honda Civic was a sub-compact hatchback, so the $15,000 Fit makes for a more valid comparison than the $18K Civic of today.
The Ferrari 250 GTO has no counterpart in the current Ferrari roster. The last GTO was a 2011 exclusive and restailed for around $450,000. What’s telling is that Ferrari’s most expensive model of the early 1960s would still less than the brand’s cheapest model today. (A person could buy a new Porsche with the difference.)
Only one car’s gotten cheaper: the Dodge Dart. Too bad no one’s buying it.Post on:
2013-06-23 08:39:15 GMT Le Mans Claims Another Victim
The world mourns as Le Mans claims another victim: Denmark’s Allan Simonsen, co-driver of the No. 95 Aston-Martin Vantage GTE. Simonsen, just thirty-four, spun out of control and struck a corner barrier. He was only on his second lap.
Simonsen was only nineteen when he went pro back in 1999. He started out in open-wheel racing, scoring a first-place debut in Denmark. Unable to duplicate his early success, Simonsen moved to GT and LM three years later; there he scored two more wins driving Ferraris.
Simonsen competed in six prior Le Mans races, but failed to finish four of them. The 2013 race was Simonsen’s second inside an Aston-Martin — he first joined Aston’s Le Mans racing team for the ‘12 season…which he failed to finish. In all, he is the twenty-second driver to be killed at the Le Mans 24. Post on:
2013-06-23 05:48:29 GMT circuit de la sarthe
, Comparing Minis: Old and New
Old Base Mini (1959):
Dimensions (ft.): 10.0 x 4.5 x 4.4
Weight: 1,400 lbs.
Engine: 0.9 L I-4
Mileage: 40 MPG
Top Speed: 72 MPH
0-60 MPH: 27 sec.
"New" Base Mini (2001)
Dimensions (ft.): 12.2 x 6.3 x 4.6
Weight: 2,400 lbs.
Engine: 1.6 L I-4
Mileage: 50 MPG
Top Speed: 109 MPH
0-60 MPH: 13 sec.
Price: £11,400Post on:
2013-07-23 20:34:00 GMT Tags: old mini new mini
, Guldstrand GS90: An Overview
During its six-decade run, the Chevrolet Corvette has embarked on a long and colorful road. The Corvette program ignited the imagination of many enthusiasts who came to feel GM wasn’t pushing the car to its fullest. Those enthusiasts took the Corvette’s metaphorical road and spawned their own avenues. The Guldstrand GS-90 was one of those avenues.
Dick Guldstrand (nicknamed “Goldie”) started out as a genuine SoCal hot rodder, souping up Fords in the Forties. Guldstrand advanced into the Sports Car Club of America’s regional circuits and earned a name for himself driving C1 Corvettes. His skill caught the attention of Chevrolet’s performance chief, Zora Duntov, who referred Guldstrand to Roger Penske’s fledgling race team. From there, Guldstrand scored GT wins at Sebring and Daytona (and a speed record at Le Mans). It was during this time that he was introduced to the C2 Grand Sport.
The Corvette GS was a covert project that Zora Duntov worked on in the early 1960s. Ford, working through Carroll Shelby, was using the Cobra roadster to terrorize Corvettes on the track. Duntov responded with the GS, a 2,000 lb. Corvette variant equipped with a 6.2 L V-8. GM’s notoriously conservative brass shut down the project and sold the Grand Sports to private teams—including Roger Penske’s. Guldstrand, like many, saw in the Grand Sport unfulfilled potential.
In the late 1960s, Guldstrand started up his own operation that covered technical consulting, race team management, and performance tuning. Two decades later, he resurrected the Grand Sport in the form of the GS-80, a modified C4 equipped with an upgraded suspension, enlarged brakes, added structural reinforcement, and a Traco 6.1 L V-8. The GS-80 easily outperformed the base ‘Vette and brought Guldstrand to the pro-tuner fore.
The GS-90, Guldstrand’s second large-scale undertaking, was based off the Corvette ZR-1. Released for 1990, the ZR-1 was Chevrolet’s own high-performance C4 variant equipped with a Lotus-designed LT-5 engine. The 5.7 L V-8, of a high-revving quad-cam and all-aluminum design, was unique from the rest of the GM engine roster. The difficulty of manufacturing the engine (which was outsourced) and the high cost of repair dissuaded GM from supporting it for the long haul. A hefty sticker price and overly subtle design further hindered the ZR-1’s sales momentum.
Guldstrand saw an opportunity to bring the ZR-1 to its fullest potential. First, he partnered with designer Steve Winter in order to develop a distinctive form. The new body, combing composites with fiberglass, featured a rounder profile, an open front fascia, exposed headlamps, and twelve circular tail-lights. In homage to the Grand Sport of old, the GS-90 was draped in rich “Nassau Blue” with a white race stripe running the length of the car. Guldstrand then turned to Doug Rippie, a motorsport veteran and tuner, to beef up the LT-5 engine. Rippie managed to crank out 475 HP from the engine: a 17% jump over factory.
How did the car stack up? Kevin Smith of Car and Driver, testing an early prototype (the car EF covered), reached 60 MPH in 4.6 sec. and a top speed of 176 MPH. Officially, the production model could reach 200 MPH and hit sixty in a hair over four seconds.
Having the most distinctive ‘Vette on the road cost money: The GS-90 retailed for $145,000 in 1994. By comparison, a base Corvette retailed for $37,000 and a regular ZR-1 for $67,000. A less-expensive “Nassau Roadster” variant, based off the standard 1992-96 Corvette, was later offered for around $85,000.
Initially, Chevrolet agreed to help Guldstrand distribute the GS-90 throughout its dealerships; but the agreement fell through as GM brass pulled out last-minute. Various theories remain as to why GM bailed, but the one that seems likeliest is that management feared the GS-90 would rob appeal from the upcoming C5, set to debut for ‘97.
As a result, only about around dozen GS-90s (including roadsters) were developed. Among those built was a natural-gas vehicle (NGV) with a specially adapted LT-5. Quite a progressive leap for the time.
GM, on the other hand, decided to resurrect the Grand Sport label as a commemorative package for the 1996 Corvette…the last C4 model year. GM has since brought back the GS name as a C6 trim level.
Luckily for Dick, he seems to have new customers interested in bringing back the GS-90—and he’s happy to do it. Funny how things work out… Post on:
2013-05-31 22:03:53 GMT chevrolet corvette stingray
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